What are the political implications of 'expert' knowledge and especially scientific knowledge for liberal democracy? If knowledge is not evenly distributed upon what basis can the philosophy of equal rights be sustained? The New Politics of Knowledge points to the crisis in knowledge in liberal democracies. This crisis, simply put, is that most citizens cannot understand, much less judge, the claims scientists make. The central argument of the book is that in a 'knowledge society' in which specialized knowledge is increasingly important to politics, more has to be delegated because democratic discussion can't handle it. This limitation in the scope of liberal democracy threatens its fundamental character.
Stephen Turner is Graduate Research Professor. His Ph.D. is from the University of Missouri. His dissertation, Sociological Explanation as Translation , was published in 1980 by Cambridge . He is the author of a number of books in the history and philosophy of social science and statistics, including books on Max Weber, on whom he also edited the Cambridge Companion volume. He is the co-author of the standard one-volume history of American Sociology, The Impossible Science. He has also written extensively in science studies, especially on patronage and the politics and economics of science, and on the concept of practices, including two books, The Social Theory of Practices and Brains//Practices/ Relativism . His Liberal Democracy 3.0: Civil Society in an Age of Experts, reflects his interest in the problem the political significance of science. Among his other current interests are problems of explaining normativity, especially the conflict between philosophical and social scientific accounts, and issues relating to the implications of cognitive neuroscience for social theory, especially related to the problem of tacit knowledge and mirror neurons. He is also engaged in a large project on the realism of Hans Kelsen and Max Weber and its relevance for contemporary discussions of political theory and law. His most recent book, Explaining the Normative (Polity 2010) is a critique and an alternative to the accounts of "normativity" one finds in philosophers like McDowell, Brandom, Korsgaard, Nagel, and the like. Among his other recent edited books are The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology, with William Outhwaite, and The Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory, with Gerard Delanty. He has had fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences.